Scripture Verse

He came unto His own, and His own received Him not. John 1:11


Horatius Bonar (1808–1889)

Words: Ho­ra­ti­us Bo­nar, Hymns of Faith and Hope, sec­ond ser­ies (Lon­don: James Nis­bet, 1861), pag­es 59–61.

Music: Hes­per­us Hen­ry Ba­ker, 1854. First pub­lished in A Hym­nal for Use in the Eng­lish Church, by John Grey, 1866 (🔊 pdf nwc).

Alternate Tunes:

If you know where to get a good pho­to of Bak­er (head & shoul­ders, at least 200×300 pix­els),


Surely, if such a thing could be,
The best of sun­light fell on Thee;
The soft­est of the stars of night
Shed down on Thee its sweet­est light.

Surely, if such a thing could be,
Noon kept its gentl­est rays for Thee;
The light­est of the winds of morn
Across Thy wea­ry brow was borne.

The fresh­est dew that eve ere shed
Fell in its cool­ness on Thy head;
The fair­est of the flow­ers that bloom
Reserved for Thee their rich per­fume.

Yet tho’ this earth which Thou hast made
Its best for Thee might hour­ly spread,
And tho’, if such a thing might be,
The best of sun­light fell on Thee,

Man had no love to give Thee here,
No words of peace, no look of cheer;
No ten­der­ness his heart could move,
He gave Thee hat­red for Thy love.

Thy best of love to him was giv’n,
The freest, tru­est grace of Heav’n;
His worst of hat­red fell on Thee,
His worst of scorn and en­mi­ty.

Life, as its gift for him, Thy love
Brought in its full­ness from above;
Death, of all deaths the sharp­est, he
In his deep hate pre­pared for Thee.

O love and hate! thus face to face
Ye meet in this strange meet­ing place!
O sin and grace, O death and life,
Who, who shall con­quer in this strife?

Fa­ther, for­give, is love’s lone cry,
While hat­red’s crowd shouts, Cru­ci­fy!
How deep­ly man his God doth hate,
God’s love to man how true and great!

Love bows the head in dy­ing woe,
And hat­red seems to tri­umph now;
Life in­to death is fad­ing fast,
And death seems con­quer­or at last.

But night is her­ald of the day,
And hate’s dark tri­umph but makes way
For love’s eter­nal vic­to­ry,
When life shall live, and death shall die.